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1824

AFTER A TEMPEST

by William Cullen Bryant

AFTER A TEMPEST -

The day had been a day of wind and storm

The wind was laidthe storm was overpast

And stooping from the zenithbright and warm

Shone the great sun on the wide earth at last.

I stood upon the upland slopeand cast

Mine eye upon a broad and beauteous scene

Where the vast plain lay girt by mountains vast

And hills o'er hills lifted their heads of green

With pleasant vales scooped out and villages between. -

The rain-drops glistened on the trees around

Whose shadows on the tall grass were not stirred

Save when a shower of diamondsto the ground

Was shaken by the flight of startled bird;

For birds were warbling roundand bees were heard

About the flowers; the cheerful rivulet sung

And gossipedas he hastened oceanward;

To the gray oak the squirrel chidingclung

And chirping from the ground the grasshopper upsprung. -

And from beneath the leaves that kept them dry

Flew many a glittering insect here and there

And darted up and down the butterfly

That seemed a living blossom of the air

The flocks came scattering from the thicketwhere

The violent rain had pent them; in the way

Strolled groups of damsels frolicsome and fair;

The farmer swung the scythe or turned the hay

And 'twixt the heavy swaths his children were at play. -

It was a scene of peace- andlike a spell

Did that serene and golden sunlight fall

Upon the motionless wood that clothed the fell

And precipice upspringing like a wall

And glassy river and white waterfall

And happy living things that trod the bright

And beauteous scene; while far beyond them all

On many a lovely valleyout of sight

Was poured from the blue heavens the same soft golden light. -

I lookedand thought the quiet of the scene

An emblem of the peace that yet shall be

When o'er earth's continentsand isles between

The noise of war shall cease from sea to sea

And married nations dwell in harmony;

When millionscrouching in the dust to one

No more shall beg their lives on bended knee

Nor the black stake be dressednor in the sun

The o'erlabored captive toiland wish his life were done. -

Too longat clash of arms amid her bowers

And pools of bloodthe earth has stood aghast

The fair earththat should only blush with flowers

And ruddy limits; but not for aye can last

The stormand sweet the sunshine when 'tis past.

Lothe clouds roll away- they break- they fly

Andlike the glorious light of summercast

O'er the wide landscape from the embracing sky

On all the peaceful world the smile of heaven shall lie. - -

THE END




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